Tumblr today introduced a change to its service that will encourage users to purchase or fund products and campaigns on other websites, including Etsy’s online marketplace and Kickstarter, for example. With an update to its mobile application for iOS, posts that link to those sites as well as DoSomething.org will now automatically be given buttons that let others “Buy,” or… Read More
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based startup called Okanjo, which offers publishers an alternative to native advertising with what it calls “native commerce,” has raised $1.7 million in new funding in a follow-on round from local angel investors, bringing the company’s total raise to date to $3.2 million. The additional funding will be used in part to launch Okanjo’s product,… Read More
Many brick-and-mortar merchants in the real world just want customers, but don’t have the time to learn the nuances of the various performance marketing tools and other programs at their disposal today. They just want new customers, or they just want to increase traffic during the slower parts of the day, for example. A new service called CardSpring Connect, launching today, now helps with that. The platform offers a self-serve online dashboard that allows merchants to easily create campaigns, connect apps like Foursquare, Trialpay, Thanx, MOGL, OnStripe and others, then sit back and watch as the analytics update in real-time with each swipe of a customer’s card at checkout.
CardSpring Connect is the latest from CardSpring, a payments infrastructure startup founded by former Netscape engineers as a means of connecting online and mobile applications to payment cards via APIs.
Foursquare had previously partnered with CardSpring and First Data earlier in 2013 to offer Visa and MasterCard cardholders discounts and other deals when they check in at particular venues. And in May, CardSpring partnered with VeriFone, integrating with the company’s PAYware Connect payments gateway to enable developers to build card-linked services for point-of-sale systems.
Until today, though, CardSpring was focused on letting developers build card-linked applications that trigger when a customer pays by credit or debit cards, but not on merchant-facing solutions. CardSpring Connect changes that.
Now, the company is targeting merchants via their financial partners and processors, offering them “set it and forget it” tools that let them build their own campaigns that they can then switch on or off with a click of a button going forward. By default, CardSpring will handle the campaigns on its own, automatically distributing the promotion requests to all the supported services, but merchants can choose to get more granular and restrict which programs are used.
In an online dashboard, merchants can access their account, connect apps to their business (like Foursquare, Trialpay, Thanx, MOGL, Roximity, Moblico, OnStripe, etc.), and track transactions. Here, businesses can see whether customers are new or returning, transaction amounts, the estimated lifetime spend for those customers and the cost merchants paid to the related service to bring those customers in.
To give an example of how this may work: say a business wants to target Foursquare to bring in new customers. They could go into the campaign manager and click through a form to create an offer (e.g. a dollar amount or a percentage off, or whatever deal they may want to run), restrict it to Foursquare, and click to turn it on. As the customers come into the store and swipe their cards at checkout, the dashboard is updated with the transaction data. Though customer names and personal details are anonymized, the merchant now has a better understanding of how well that campaign actually performed. And they only pay for the actual purchases redeemed, which is what’s meant by “performance marketing.”
“One of the things we hear most from people who use Foursquare is how much they love using our app to find great deals,” said Steven Rosenblatt, Chief Revenue Officer at Foursquare about the integration. He says the company is looking forward to the launch of CardSpring Connect because it provides an easy way for merchants to create card-linked offers that helps Foursquare users save more money.
CardSpring Connect itself is an open and neutral platform, allowing retailers to essentially turn their point-of-sale terminals into their own local marketing solutions, says Walther, who refers to the platform as a “local commerce operating system.”
“For the first time you can really see from all these providers, if they sent you new customers,” explains CardSpring CEO Eckart Walther. “That was one of the challenges with Groupon – something like 40% of the people who bought a coupon were not new,” he adds.
“Our whole value proposition is that we go out and help these old, traditional folks turn on our system…There’s really nothing like it in the offline world,” he says, explaining that, offline, there hasn’t been an easy way to identify which customers were new, which service brought them in, and what they’re spending.
With CardSpring Connect, merchants can use the system with any point-of-sale system. The system is typically white labeled, so companies providing the merchant’s credit card services (e.g. First Data, VeriFone, or local processors, etc.) could switch it on for their business customers. On this front, CardSpring plans to have additional announcements in the near future.
Getting other to partner with the company will be a critical step in CardSpring’s growth, since its business is built on a licensing model where publishers pay to use the platform. Walther explains that it charges similarly to the way credit cards are charged today – a small fixed fee, and if there’s a redemption, there’s sometimes a small percentage of that redemption. Generally, the charges are around 10 to 30 cents, he says. “It’s a fluid business model,” he says.”We charge when we create value.”
Following today’s launch of CardSpring Connect, the company will be announcing more partnerships with other financial institutions, payment networks, and point-of-sale makers that will help CardSpring gets its platform in front of more merchants. Interested customers can learn more here on the company’s website.
Carrying cash can be a drag, but it’s often an even bigger nuisance for shopkeepers with iPad point-of-sale terminals. Because of a focus on swiping plastic, storage solutions for your dollar bills take a back seat. The WindFall Cash Drawer is Heckler Designs’ stylish US-made option that, according to the company, offers the smallest footprint of any drawer currently available — it’s probably the brightest, too. Cash Drawer follows the aesthetics of the Arizona designer’s other pieces; namely, heavy-duty steel construction, rounded corners and minimalist design. Is your storefront already rocking a WindFall stand for Apple’s slate? Well, you’re in luck, as the nouveau till sports a secure mounting and cable management system for it. Sure there’s a slight bit of irony surrounding its current lack of pricing, but don’t let that get you down. When it launches this fall, it’ll be available exclusively from ShopKeep POS.
Source: Heckler Design
Adventurous foodies are likely familiar with the concept of snout to tail dining, which incorporates the entire animal — even the exotic bits — into recipes that stray from the norm. Soon enough, OpenTable may offer a different take on start-to-finish dining by incorporating payments into its restaurant reservation platform. The system is said to still be in testing, which would require that diners merely open the OpenTable app, select a tip amount and hit the payment button. As a boon to restaurant owners, OpenTable isn’t planning on taking a cut from the transaction; instead, it’s looking to attract and retain users, and perhaps stay ahead of emerging competitors such as Groupon and Yelp. According to The New York Times, OpenTable will use an in-house payment system that it acquired this year from JustChalo. If all goes well, the new feature will be introduced to San Francisco by year’s end, with other markets to follow. Apparently, OpenTable is still hammering out its notification system, so as to avoid unpleasant scenarios such as accusing paying customers of skipping out on the bill.
Source: The New York Times
Bitcoin fans are familiar with using cloud computing to generate a commodity — but what would happen if cloud computing was the commodity? The Deutsche Börse should find out when it opens its newly-unveiled Cloud Exchange in the first quarter of 2014. The independent market will let organizations buy remote computing and storage in respective 8GB and 1TB blocks, with traders agreeing on when and where the number crunching takes place. Theoretically, this creates a neutral, competitive space for exchanging server power: buyers can easily spot the best value, while sellers can efficiently offload their unused cycles. Whether or not the Cloud Exchange works that way in practice, we’re just hoping that it isn’t as volatile as an old-fashioned stock exchange.
[Image credit: Dontworry, Wikipedia]
Source: Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange
Most stores accepting mobile payments usually have to take just one format, whether it’s Google Wallet, Square or another flavor that you probably can’t use. LevelUp is convinced you shouldn’t have to choose platforms: it just revealed a new payment dock that will recognize both the company’s existing QR code system as well as NFC. It’s much easier sight on the eyes than typical NFC terminals, to boot. Just don’t expect a one-for-one recreation of systems like Google Wallet or Isis. Rather than expose your banking details by holding them in a chip, LevelUp’s NFC is just used to move the transaction along — if it’s used to get things started, shoppers can either switch to a QR code or complete the transaction with a second tap. The company is mostly planning to replace its existing payment points across the US with the NFC-aware models. Bluetooth 4.0 is an option for the future, however, which could make LevelUp even more of a Swiss Army Knife for the world of mobile commerce.
There’s little doubt that mobile payments hold a ton of potential for the future of commerce, but without proper direction (and willingness for adoption), the technology remains little more than an impractical curiosity for the majority of consumers. In an effort to define a way forward for the mobile payment industry, a large number of heavy hitters have banded together under the umbrella of the Electronic Transactions Association to form the Mobile Payments Committee. Not only does the group include all four of the top US carriers, but also Google, Isis, VeriFone and PayPal. Add to that financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Capital One, along with American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa, and you’ll quickly realize that this group is playing to win.
Primary goals of the Mobile Payments Committee include fostering relationships with merchants, ensuring consumer access to modern payment methods, exploring best practices and ensuring interoperability of networks, equipment and financial institutions. The group will also engage in lobbying activities with legislators and regulators, and will additionally work to educate both merchants and consumers about the potential of mobile payments. With so many key players (and competitors) sitting around one big table, what wouldn’t you give to be a fly on the wall during those meetings? For a little extra insight, just hop the break for the full PR.